The cafÃ©-club meets once every 10 days. It is also made up of retired bureaucrats, former judges and members of the military. It was the think tank behind the farmers’ protests in Delhi and surrounding areas. And for them, it was a pleasant surprise when the Prime Minister repealed the three controversial farm laws. Retired Secretary of State SS Boparai said, âI am glad the bills have been struck down. The government realized that it was not helping farmers. But our battle is not yet over. Now we have to fight for a legal guarantee for the MSP or the minimum support price. “
The MSP is a kind of safety net or insurance for farmers when they sell certain selected crops. Government agencies buy these crops, usually paddy and wheat, at a stipulated price, which covers the costs to the farmers, and no product can then be sold below this decided rate. Farmers, backed by the repeal of all three laws, are now pushing the boundaries to ensure that demand is met as well. This legal guarantee becomes important because it guarantees that tomorrow no changes will be made and that farmers will be able to go to court in the event of tampering with the MSP.
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This is an argument that is made by agricultural experts like Devender Sharma. He told News18.com: âThis is very unfair. Farmers in Punjab contribute around 45% of the country’s agricultural produce and so they need to be assured that the prices won’t hurt. about Rs 17 lakh crore on the chessboard.
As News18.com travels to the outskirts of Chandigarh where most of the mandis are empty at the end of the harvest season, a handful of farmers prepare to leave for Delhi where the first anniversary of the protests will be celebrated. But these farmers tell us they don’t understand why they have to continue their protests when farm laws have been repealed. Sukhdev Singh says, âThe cause was so strong for us that we decided to leave our pind (village) and stay on the Delhi border. Our family who stayed in the villages had to face difficulties but they supported us. Now we want to go backâ¦ but we were asked to stay back. I don’t know for how long.
But in Punjab, the MSP has now become a poll question. Sources say that at a congressional leadership meeting in Delhi, it was suggested that the minimum support price and the legal guarantee should be the next point of agitation and that will be part of their manifesto if the legal guarantee was not provided by the Center.
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Ousted Congressional Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who looks set to fight next year’s Punjab polls in alliance with the BJP, told News18.com: âThe MSP is important, but the government continues. to announce it periodically. I think farmers should trust the Prime Minister now that he has repealed the laws.
It is still early. The Punjab now faces elections in a different landscape as the ballot has now changed. MSP could be the next new flashpoint. The cafÃ© club of retired bureaucrats is now planning to step up its campaign.
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